Affirmation in the way I need it, not in the way I want it

creating communityDo I want to be famous?

I do, but not necessarily in the traditional way. I do not want everyone to know me, just the right people. For me, it is very important to have an idea, implement it, and then receive affirmation from the group of people my idea has been a blessing to.

That is the kind of fame I like.

And, of course, that rarely happens.

What I mean is that I do get affirmation, but not in the way I want it.

 

Dealing with me in the same way

God has this way of dealing with me, which has been very consistent over the years. Not surprise there, since He never changes. Many, many times the Lord provides an idea, a new concept for me to use as a good administrator of His grace.

Then, I run with the ball. I think about it. I design. I plan. I dream.

Later comes the implementation.

But rarely I get affirmation from those around me.

But almost in every case I get His affirmation. In private. Where only He and I know what is going on.

That is the way my Lord keeps my heart in check. That is the way He helps me to remain humble, defunding the idol factory I have in the middle of my chest.

 

Learning about me… and about Him

This process of getting private affirmation from Him has been good for me. It is not what I want, but it is exactly what I need.

In this process, I get to know me better. And He allows me to learn more about Him, too.

I’ve learned about my need to control, my need for success, and my desire to be the first one, the one that comes out on top.

I’ve learned about His mercy, and patience, and love, and grace… for me. All those deep theological concepts become more real, and practical, when I see them in action as an undeserved gift from Him to me.

That is what I need, in order to be a humble follower of Jesus Christ, in order to be a disciple of His.

 

For you to consider

  • Do you know the ways our God deals with your heart?
  • What have you learned, about you and about Him, in the process?
  • Have you noticed any fruits of His work in you? How are you going to celebrate those?

Give by grace, create community, proclaim Good News.

Alex Villasana

 

 

 

 

When disciple-making loses its glamour

The adventure of a life time?

Sometimes, making disciples is not all that glamorous. I know it is a commandment from our Lord, but so many times I’m more influenced by what discipleship is supposed to be like, instead of what it really is.

It’s supposed to be an adventure, right? I mean, what else could it be like, when you invest your life in the life of other person?

But sometimes it is not.

Sometimes it’s reality.

With all the problems and challenges and personal issues that come from being too close to anyone.

I think I’m always trying my very best, but then things happen and making disciples loses its glamour.

 

 

Adding insult to injury.

Making disciples is painful business.

Now, try this on a culturally diverse setting.

When ministering to a group of people who cannot decided which one is the best version of the language they all speak, very quickly you learn that the battle you face is extremely challenging (impossible?).

Communication is not the main issue here. A more important problem is how easy it is to offend and be offended.

How am I supposed to make disciples, when they bite back?

Aren’t they aware that I’m in a mission to make disciples of the nations?

Well, the nations are not making it easier for me to fulfill the Great Commission.

 

Is this really who I am?

Honestly, it is very hard not to evaluate my own worth, as a disciple-maker, based on how people respond to my efforts of teaching them everything the Lord has commanded.

But that is incorrect.

I need to remember that I, my self, am in the process of being cultivated as a humble follower of Jesus Christ; discipleship is also for me.

I also need to remember that my call is to be a steward of God’s grace, and that it is Him who is transforming people. I am not in charge.

My worth does not come from my level of productivity in His kingdom, but from the completed work of Jesus Christ. From the grace He extended to me when He called me his own. From the security of His perfect life and sacrifice. From the power of His constant presence in my life. From the hope that, one day, I will see Him face to face, and because of His beauty (i.e. His person and work) I will hear Him welcoming me into the peace and glory He’s prepared for His people.

 

Be encouraged by the work He is doing in your heart.

 

Your turn

[.] As a disciple-maker, you are also in need to experience Spiritual Transformation in your own heart.
[.] When in doubt give grace, love people, point to Christ.
[.] Celebrate each and all the fruit God the Holy Spirit may produce, in and through you.
[.] Remember Jeremy’s ministry

 

 

And, of course, if you would like to share your experiences with others, you are more than welcome to leave your comments in the section below.

 

Give by grace, create community, proclaim Good News.

avLogoS

 

 

 

 

 

From ordinary to glorious, and back : the reality of Christian daily life

I was, literally, watching grass grow. For a long while, we had a big area in our backyard depleted of grass. So, I took the matter into my own hands, and planted some. And by planted some I mean I really worked at it: I did some research on how to do it, what the best fertilizer was, and what kind of seeds to use.

Then, I planted it.

Then, I waited.

I waited for days to see the evidence that it had worked, to see the fruit of my hard labor. And all this reminded me of the whole process of making disciples.

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The thing I learned when I received a very bad present

If you have seen the movie War Wide Z, you know that there is a certain minority ethnic group who are, for all practical purposes, the real heroes of the movie: Brad Pitt’s character couldn’t have gone too far without this group doing what they do best, and that is eat together even when the World is coming to an end.

Brad responded in the correct way, and in humility accepted the gift this people, from a different Culture Circle, was offering him and his family.

This week I have a similar experience, without the zombies and the End of the World thing. And because of the work of God the Holy Spirit in me, I also was able to respond in the right way.

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A sign of health – a community developed naturally

You can learn so much observing children.

In a recent meeting for parents of our Small Community – the Gwinnett Chess Co. – one of our players came prepared to enjoy a real sense of community, in diversity.

It is when community is developed naturally, without any kind of pressure to make it happen, that you can measure the real health of you disciples-making approach.

After observing our kids, here are a few things I learn about it.

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Plans for the Summer

Done with my plans for this Summer. I am excited to think about how the Lord will allow me to see, enjoy, and share His beauty in diversity. To learn more about His person and work, I will be focused on Core Value of His Lordship and the Spiritual Discipline of Stewardship. To apply my gifts, my attention will be on preaching, Troop 1212, and The Gwinnett Chess Co. And I’m hoping to have spiritual conversations with the leaders of our church, and with those seeking.

How a conversation with a 5-year old helped my own spiritual transformation

Teaching chess may not bring images of high emotions, adrenaline raising scenarios, or a deep sense of urgency. In other words, teaching chess may look boring.

But it is not. 

It is the passion I’m pursuing, and as such it has presented me with the need of explaining what I believe -to myself and to others. And at those moments, when the Spirit brings the right words to mind, so that I can explain what He’s allowed me to believe, is that I marvel at His faithfulness, my faith is increased, and He brings me closer to Him.

The challenge of answering questions regarding spiritual issues, allows me to advance in my own Spiritual Transformation.

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Spring Day Camp

We will have another parent meeting today, to talk about the day camp of next week. Our first meeting, a few weeks back, was a great success. The idea that we are a Small Community of parents working together towards one goal (our passion, our area of interest) is really taking root with our Support Team and Target Group.

Seeing His beauty

The Core Value I am studying now is the Lordship of Jesus Christ; I have learned a few things going through the book of Psalms looking for the phrase ‘the LORD is.’ But it has been a big blessing to see Him, first hand, exercising His Lordship: He gave us a great meeting with the parents of our chess players, and an awesome fund raiser for our Scouts troop. All this happening almost against human planning and desire.

The Gwinnett Chess Co.

Our kids, hard at work

We had a great meeting, last night, at The Gwinnett Chess Co. Not only we have our kids playing better chess, they are growing closer to each other and working more as a team. And next week we will have a chess parents meeting!